BBC Radio 4 Extra is to publish a new 30th anniversary edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Game. The online interactive website will feature refreshed illustrations and graphics, with additional functionality.
The game was originally devised in 1984 by The Hitchhiker's Guide creator Douglas Adams and the well-known Infocom computer game developer Steve Meretzky. The game, which was notoriously difficult and full of oddities, was one of the best-selling games of its era, available on the Apple II, Macintosh, Commodore 64, DOS, Amiga, Atari 8-bit and Atari ST platforms.
A 20th anniversary edition of the game was launched on Radio 4's website in 2004. Over three million moves were made in the first three days after it launched, with over 50 million moves played within six months. It went on to win a BAFTA for 'Best Online Entertainment' and to this day some fans of the game can still be found playing this ageing version online.
The new 30th anniversary version of the game will allow users to play in high definition for the first time, and it has been updated to include additional functionality such as the ability to share scores via social media. The code has also been updated to meet modern technology demands.
The BBC explains: "Players can take the game on the move as it will be compatible with tablets and other internet enabled devices."
The show told the story of average every-man Arthur Dent, who ends up travelling around space after Earth is demolished to make way for an intergalactic hyperspace bypass. The format went on to spawn a series of novels, a TV series (pictured), a feature film, multiple stage shows, a collection of comic books, and merchandise including towels.
The new game will be published on the BBC website on Saturday 8th March 2014, 36 years to the day since The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy was first broadcast on the radio. BBC Radio 4 Extra will also repeat the first two series of the radio show (The Primary Phase and The Secondary Phase) from this date.
The BBC says: "It has been over 10 years since these programmes were last heard on BBC Radio and they perfectly accompany the game. Actions within the game follow the plot of the radio series and some puzzles are only solvable by players with knowledge of the programmes and story."
Radio 4 Extra's Caroline Raphael says: "Douglas was a true visionary and in his own glorious way foresaw all the technology we now take for granted. Radio 4 Extra is delighted to host this game alongside the first two series. Hitchhiker's fans will be rewarded for their loyalty over the years and newer fans have a real, but fiendish, treat in store. March 8 is a special day for the galaxy, so help us celebrate it in the unique way that only BBC Radio 4 Extra can."
Saturday 8th March 2014: The game is now online. It still features a low-tech keyboard entry system, but has some added graphics. Play Online
It was also announced since this story was first published that the original cast of the radio show were to reunite in March for a new live recording. Full Story